Holy Supper literal or not?

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Holy Supper literal or not?

Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, December 1998, p.2

ONE OF MY classmates in college told me that the bread and wine mentioned by Christ during the Holy Supper are not literal. He said Christ spoke spiritual words then and not literal. He used the verses John  6:53 and 63 to support his point. I am not very knowledgeable about the Bible, but I disagree with him.

I would like to ask you, is my classmate right in asserting that the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are indeed not literal?

Alexander O. Martan
Rizal, Philippines

Editor's reply:

The Holy Supper which was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ involved the actual breaking and eating of bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine. The Bible narrates this, thus:

      Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.      “For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’. Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’.” (Lk. 22:1, 18-20, NKJV)

      The biblical narrative states that Christ took the bread and broke it and likewise took the cup. How could have Christ taken the bread to break it and even share it with the apostles and how could he have asked the apostles to drink from the cup if the bread and the fruit of the vine were purely symbolical?

      The verses John 6:53 and 63 which your classmate used to support his point have nothing to do with The Holy Supper. This verses state:

      “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life on you’.

      “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (NKJV)

     The subject of John 6:53 and 63 is not the Holy Supper. It can be gleaned from the preceding verses that the Lord chided those who sought Him not because they believed in the signs but because He miraculously fed the thousands of them with just a few loaves of bread (Jn. 6:25-26). He admonished those people not to labor for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to everlasting life (Jn. 6:27).

     Thus, to say that the Holy Supper does not comprise the literal eating of bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine erroneous.


Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.

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